Duevel Venus Loudspeaker Page 2

If you are unfamiliar with omnidirectional loudspeakers, then a short period of re-adjustment may be necessary. Instead of a succession of musicians and performers set in a soundstage with pinpoint accuracy, these designs offer up a huge swathe of sound across the front of the listening area.

In addition, they have the knack of being able to disappear more effectively than any other loudspeaker design I can think of. While many conventional speakers set up a very convincing soundstage, even with one's eyes shut it's not difficult to work out where the actual enclosures are located in the room. Were you to play the Venus speakers blindfolded, I'd wager you'd never locate them.

The real strength of the design comes from the image stability it offers. Provided you've positioned the cabinets to take into account unwanted reflections from nearby surfaces, it's surprising the degree to which you can move around your listening area with there being very little change in the speakers' presentation. My wife looked on with some alarm as I slid up and down the length of the sofa in the room, bobbing my head with a big grin on my face...

In practice I had to be almost up against the left and right walls before the soundstage started to falter. Equally, there was only a softening of the treble and a loss of focus in the vertical plane when I was either fully standing, or crouching at floor level. Away from these extremes, the Venus was virtually immune to movement around the listening space – perfect if you prefer not to listen alone.

Space Odyssey
As a result of its spacious character, the way in which the Venus presents music is a little different to the norm. Rather than a main vocalist appearing to be centre stage in a reach-out-and-touch kind of way, the performer is simply 'there'. On the title track from the eponymous LP by country supergroup The Highwomen [Elektra 0075678651731], each vocalist stepped into the limelight in turn, with backing instrumentation layered expertly behind. Yet rather than having the sensation of being right in front of the group as they performed, the feeling was of being further back, with plenty of space around and between both listener and performers.

If you are the sort of enthusiast who likes to perch on the edge of your seat with eyes shut in order to work out the positioning of the second violinist to within an inch or two, then you may find the Venus a tad vague in this respect. Also, a hefty amplifier is a prerequisite when driving these speakers. For most of my auditioning the volume knob on my Supernait was in the region more usually associated with parties.


But these are minor distractions because the Venus's presentation of music, almost irrespective of genre, has a disturbingly addictive quality! What's more, Duevel's technique of integrating the drive units via the two surfaces of an acoustic reflector is not only imaginative, it's also surprisingly effective.

Imagine turning a tweeter to face down at the floor – you might expect a vague and rather dull sound to result. Not a bit of it with the Venus. Instead, treble was insightful and detailed, with vocal sibilants being a particular stand-out delight. The precision with which these arrived at the listening seat, delivered their message with crispness and then simply vanished, was not what you might anticipate.

Oh My Gosh
The Venus continued to impress when it came to the low-end. Bass is deep – surprisingly so, given the relatively modest dimensions of the cabinets. Fortunately, it's also taut and precise, with the result that there is never any confusion or wallow. 'Gosh' from Jamie XX's In Colour album [Young Turks YTLP122] thundered through my listening room, the track's subsonics giving the Venus's modestly-sized bass drivers a good workout but never causing them to lose their grip.

Subtler still, the acoustic upright double-bass on 'Indigo River' from Julianna Raye's Restless Night CD [3Crows CD-4391] was conveyed with exactly the right amount of fruity warmth. In fact, listening to this performance with my eyes tightly shut, I was almost convinced I could smell the cigarette smoke in the track's 'jazz club' atmosphere, so vividly did the Venus bring it to life in my room.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Duevel's single-minded dedication to omnidirectional loudspeakers has not been in vain. The 'presentation' of the musical event is necessarily different from that of a standard forward-firing design, but the way these Venus towers fill the listening space with sound – virtually eliminating the traditional 'sweet spot' – is quite remarkable. I'm going to miss these when they go back!

Supplied by: Signature Audio Systems, UK
07738 007776